Old-time Shippensburgers waxed nostalgic when they noticed Santa and his sleigh had returned to “the square” this year.

Those of us who have reached a certain level of maturity, shall we say, remember a different version of St. Nick fondly. He was more “filled in” and more colorful and the display seemed to be bigger, but youngsters’ eyes can be deceived, especially when they’re filled with seasonal wonder.

When we saw that harbinger, we knew Christmas was nearly here. It meant increased hustle and bustle on King Street and it meant visiting Santa at his little house downtown.

We eagerly anticipated seeing that particular Santa and his rig each winter, and it was a fixture for what seemed like decades.

But things wear out. Wind and weather can be cruel, and poor old 1950s -‘60s Santa finally came to the end of his reign. We missed him. Children and grandchildren probably can recite verbatim tales told by the old folks regarding the “Santa and his sleigh that filled the entire width of King Street. It was huge! I wish we had that back again!”

In the ensuing years, our town’s holiday decorations have been lovely. The “community” tree is beautiful and the little park at the gazebo has been transformed into a small-scale winter wonderland. Still, it’s nice to have Santa back and right where he should be.

And we got him in 2020. At last, a good thing in 2020!

As always, Christmas is a time of wonder, especially for me this year.

I’m wondering how many masks Santa delivered Thursday night/Friday morning. I’m wondering if gifts included toilet paper, Lysol, paper towels, hand sanitizer, and all that other stuff that’s on the “most wanted” lists.

I’m wondering how many cookies (see last week’s column) will be discarded because the truth is, no one can eat all those cookies! I’m wondering if the potential gifts lost in the delivery maze will ever reach their intended destinations. I’m wondering how many of the gifts that were delivered will be returned to their starting point for some reason or another.

And I’m wondering what wonders the next year will bring the weary world.

Let’s hope there’s a happy and healthy start to 2021 for all of us!


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